Trends in ecommerce are constantly changing. Some may only stick around for a week, while others can be catalysts of massive industry shifts. While we struggle to come up with examples of the former, mobile and online shopping immediately come to mind in the latter category.
Internet users have become more discerning and pickier than ever. If they deem a website unattractive, they’ll simply leave and look elsewhere. Let’s face it; whatever niche you’re in, you’re far from being the only option.
This is why any ecommerce store that aspires to be successful should use custom web development to design a store that is not only aesthetically appealing but easy to use and navigate. If you can make the user experience second-to-none, chances are you’ll be able to convert more prospects.
7 Ecommerce User Experience Practices You Should Employ ASAP
The idea behind user experience is to get inside your end users’ heads and determine what it takes to give them an enjoyable and relatively simple shopping experience. In ecommerce, UX also extends to the perception your user has of your website after interacting with it.
Let’s look at the seven most effective ways to leave an excellent impression on your website visitors.
Straightforward and Intuitive Navigation
Making an intuitive and user-friendly website may sound simple enough, but unfortunately, it isn’t. A layperson may think that all it comes down to is sticking a few clickable tabs and CTAs on the page and putting a search bar at the top constitutes well-thought-out navigation, but the truth is much more complex.
For example, you might not even need a search bar if your product groups and sections are precise and well defined. You could take care of navigation through tabs and intuitive categories, leading directly to product pages.
To start with, utilize all your preconceived knowledge. This is basically the expected behavior of your visitors from the moment they enter the store. You can obtain this information from your own experience with similar stores or by following your competition.
Another helpful tip would be to keep your navigation items uniform across all pages. This includes all the menus, commands, buttons, and tabs. That way, your prospects will quickly get into the groove and intuitively navigate the website regardless of which page they are currently on.
Fast Payments and Streamlined Checkout Process
The simpler and easier you make it for your customers to convert, the more likely they are to do it. This fact does not need any statistical data to back it up, just common sense.
With that in mind, here are a few pointers on how to increase sales by making things simpler and quicker for your customers:
- Offer a variety of payment options.
- Allow users to check out as guests; forcing people to sign up is a major conversion killer.
- Provide money-back guarantees and other assurances of value.
- Make your call-to-action buttons stand out.
By making the buyer’s journey as seamless as possible, you’ll avoid losing potential customers due to confusion or frustration.
Eye-Catching UI Elements
Slide-in (hamburger) menus may still have widespread use, even on the most popular apps and websites, but they’ve never been a particularly great solution. If you want to make things simpler for your users, get rid of your hamburger menu ASAP, especially on mobile.
Although this may seem like a radical move, especially considering how often we see this menu on popular websites, the reasoning behind it is simple. The slide-in menu takes critical UI elements and hides them from the user, making every step one tap further away and thus needlessly complicates the process.
Instead of putting all your crucial UI elements into a hamburger menu, try to come up with ways to put them on the page itself. Not only that, but try to make them as eye-catching as possible.
There are many creative ways to do this, from user-generated content (UGC) to product images and other media. Study your customer base, try to understand what they respond to, and adjust your website accordingly.
Having an eye-catching and visually exciting website doesn’t mean cluttering it with layer upon layer of content. In fact, in most scenarios, it means quite the opposite, especially in an age of minimalist design.
Today’s audiences respond to clean aesthetics, and when it comes to conversions, this is an excellent weapon to have in your arsenal.
Let’s be clear — minimalist design isn’t about having a blank page or presenting information in a way that’s not entirely fleshed out. It is quite the opposite of that, actually.
Having a minimalist approach allows you to put the spotlight on the exact content that you want your visitors to look at. Whether it is a call to action, a snippet of text, or a product image, it will stand out more against plenty of negative space.
No matter how gorgeous, well-planned, and high-performing your website is, it will not create results unless it brings value to the customer base you’re attempting to target. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before launching your website:
- What will be the primary sources of traffic for the site?
- How can you use the website to turn prospects into customers?
- How can you turn one-time customers into long-term customers?
Although these questions will have different answers depending on your niche, your customer base, and a variety of other factors, there are a few general principles you can start with. Here are a few pointers on turning each customer into a brand ambassador and increasing customer retention:
- Personalize your site — use featured sections, custom landing pages, etc.
- Highlight your most popular products, as well as the latest additions to your selection.
- Reward your most loyal customers.
- Give public recognition to your brand advocates on social media.
Genuine Testimonials and Customer Reviews
If you tell your prospects how amazing your products are, they might believe you, but they’re much more likely to believe the words of your previous happy customers. Many companies spend fortunes on ads while ignoring the best marketing available — word of mouth.
Showing your audience the value your products have brought to your existing customers will work wonders for their trust in your brand.
Your website is the place to show the best testimonials and reviews you’ve ever received. That said, be sure to respond to bad reviews as well, as that highlights your intention to provide a top-notch experience to each customer.
High-Quality Customer Support
Your customers are your biggest asset. If you want to be successful in any business, you need to over-deliver when it comes to serving your end customer.
Many business owners are content with doing the bare minimum in customer service, as the cost of high-quality service can rack up quickly. What they fail to understand is that keeping your customers happy always pays off in the end, through increased sales and word of mouth.
Here are some of the most obvious reasons to put customer service above almost anything else in your ecommerce business:
- It builds trust and faith in your brand
- It provides added value to your products
- It makes customers more likely to return
- It boosts brand awareness